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Relationship Advice For
Lesbians and Bisexual Women

Table of Contents
Relationship Advice
For Lesbians and Bisexual Women
Chapter 5 Sample Page

Relationship Advice for Lesbians and Bisexual WomenCoping with the Straight World

All Gay People CHOOSE their Lifestyles!
Letter to the Editor By Tracey Stevens

Great to see the positive comments about Tulsa named emerging city for same-sex couples. I did want to reply to A Tulsan’s comment, number 5, about gay people ‘Choosing that lifestyle.”

The only choice I have about being a lesbian is whether I lie about it or not. I have no choice in this. People who are bisexual may have a choice. People who are truly gay do not.

Like A Tulsan’s comment above, I see people over and over again making this mistake in thinking that gay people just wake up one day and say “Gee, I think I will become a homo. I think I will be what at least 50% of the world’s population fear and hate. I think I will become the scourge of society, be assumed to be a child molester, and have over 1300 less rights than any other tax paying married citizens in the USA.” It sure wasn’t like that for me. I knew I was lesbian since I was a little tiny kid, and I am not your stereotypical butch.

What I have seen, over and over in my life, is that people who are in denial of who they are, whether that is being gay or bisexual, are usually the ones who are the most homophobic and really work at making the life of every gay person they come in contact with pure misery. They are pointing one hateful finger at us, getting us fired from jobs, thrown out of our housing, beaten up and sometimes killed for being honest about who we are, while they have three of their own fingers pointing right back at their own closet-case selves.

When the marriage issue comes up, many people do not understand that gay Americans, as a whole, pay over forty billion dollars in Federal Income Taxes each and every year, and yet we are denied over 1,300 rights that married straight couples have. Here’s a letter to a local congressman that I wrote concerning this:

Dear Congressman Taylor,

Thanks again for your email and stating your opinion that you believe that marriage should be between an man and a woman. As far as rights that are guaranteed to every American, I agree that we must disagree on this, as I do not feel that I am protected by the Constitution as everyone is.

I have been fired from jobs, lost my housing, and put up with horrible prejudice for most of my life, because of who I was born to be. People say we choose this? Why would anyone choose to be tormented in this way? I can’t choose to be straight, any more than you could choose to be gay. The only thing I could choose to do is to lie about who I am, and I am not a liar.

Being lesbian, I have never been into marriage as to me it is more of a heterosexual institution, but it would be nice if my relationship of fourteen years had the same rights as that of married straight people. I’m not sure if you know this, but there are over 1,300 rights that are granted to straight couples that gay couples do not have. I have listed a few below:

Devoted gay and lesbian couples shoulder the responsibilities of marriage, but have few of the legal rights and protections. Married couples receive more than 1,300 protections, rights and benefits under state and federal law, and are denied basic protections and rights granted to married couples. For example:

* Hospital visitation. Married couples have the automatic right to visit each other in the hospital and make medical decisions. Gay and lesbian couples can be denied the right to visit a sick or injured loved one in the hospital.

* Social Security benefits. Married people receive Social Security payments upon the death of a spouse. Despite paying payroll taxes, gay and lesbian workers receive no Social Security survivor benefits – resulting in an average annual income loss of $5,528 upon the death of a partner.

* Health insurance. Many public and private employers provide medical coverage to the spouses of their employees, but most employers do not provide coverage to the life partners of gay and lesbian employees. Gay employees who do receive health coverage for their partners must pay federal income taxes on the value of the insurance.

* Estate taxes. A married person automatically inherits all the property of his or her deceased spouse without paying estate taxes–a gay or lesbian taxpayer is forced to pay estate taxes on property inherited from a deceased partner.

* Retirement savings. While a married person can roll a deceased spouse’s 401(k) funds into an IRA without paying taxes, the government will take up to 70% of the amount in taxes and penalties from a gay or lesbian senior.

* Family leave. Married workers are legally entitled to unpaid leave from their jobs to care for an ill spouse--gay and lesbian workers do not get family leave.

* Nursing homes. Married couples have a legal right to live together in nursing homes. Because they are not legal spouses, elderly gay or lesbian couples do not have the right to spend their last days living together in nursing homes.

* Home protection. Laws protect married seniors from being forced to sell their homes to pay high nursing-home bills; gay and lesbian seniors have no such protection.

* Pensions. After the death of a worker, most pension plans pay survivor benefits only to a legal spouse of the participant–so gay and lesbian workers get no pension support for their partners.
And these are just a few of the basic things that married people have that domestic partners don’t have. Most people don’t know about this injustice either.

I have known people who have lost their partners of over thirty years, and have no recourse when the deceased partner’s family come in and sells the house out from under the remaining partner. I have known people who had partners incapacitated in the hospital, but were not allowed to make decisions as to their care. In one case, the family that disowned the son years before, came in and allowed him to remain in a coma, even though he had always requested that his long-time partner promise he would make sure to take him off life support, if it was determined that he would not survive. I have known a woman who was maimed in car accident, and her partner of 15 years was not allowed to see her ever again because of parents who now controlled their wheelchair-bound daughter’s life.

These are just people I have known who have been severely affected by the lack of rights we actually have under the law.

What I’d like to know is why straight mass murderers, rapists, and serial killers are permitted to be married while in prison, and yet law-abiding, tax paying, LGBT citizens in loving, stable, relationships, many who are raising children, are not afforded this same basic right? Wouldn’t it be nice if Kathy and I, who have been together for over 16 years, had the same rights as someone on death row? Just something to think about.

Again, I appreciate that you took the time to write back about these concerns. I don’t believe that fighting and hatred ever solve anything, so I’m hoping maybe our correspondence has helped you understand the other side of a situation that you would have no way of knowing about unless you walked in the shoes of 10 to 20 percent of the population...

Relationship Advice for Lesbians and Bisexual Women
©2010 by Amazing Dreams Publishing.
All rights reserved.

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